Have You Seen My Ancestors?

9 May

In 8th grade we learned about Punnett Squares and alleles. I was fascinated by this. In fact I would say it was one of the few things I was so excited to learn about and picked it up really fast. It might have been because I loved eyes. I was fascinated by all the different colors. The way some seemed to twinkle. I even had my notebook where I was constantly drawing eyes. Trying to perfect the intricacies. Drawing the teardrops falling from them. The reflections in them.

I wasn’t sure what color eyes my mom had. The pictures I had seen were mostly black and white. The few that were in color were all too far away for me to decipher. I have brown eyes. My brother has blue. How did he get the blue eyes. How did I get the brown eyes?

When 23 & Me came out with the DNA tests, I was very curious. I wanted to see if I could find out about different parts of my DNA. What a great opportunity to be able to see if I have any markers that would identify any predisposed conditions or even see what alleles I have. Not knowing about your other half, there are always concerns.

The package arrived in the mail and I had a date with a little plastic cup. For anyone who has not seen one of these tests, they send you a kit with a plastic vial. The vial has a topper that when you close it, releases a liquid into the container. You fast for a period of time, no food or water. They even say no gum or anything like that as it can throw your results off. I found the easiest thing to do was just do it when I first woke up. You fill the bottle to the line with spit. Not nearly as gross as it sounds. You affix the cap which releases the solution. You pack your vial up in the box they provide. Before you ship the box back, you register your kit number on the website. That is how they know it belongs to you. Then, you pop the box in the mail and ………..wait!

It took about six to eight weeks, just like they said. Any time the status changes (received, processing, analyzing, etc) they send you an email update. This is both cool and torture! It is nice because you know you are getting closer but torture because it can sit in a different status for what seems like YEARS!

When they are all done processing, analyzing and checking your results they send you an email to let you know it is complete. You then log into your special page and voila! You and looking at your genetic makeup.

My results were a mixture of fascination and disappointment. I was disappointed because it did not tell me about my alleles and the info on carrier genes seemed kind of vague. Though of course now they have a Health and Ancestry test available. I sort of wish I had waited and done that one!

I was however fascinated with some of the other aspects. For example it gives you some interesting “random” facts like “your relatives are”…

68% more likely to have a gap between their 2 front teeth (I have one! Imagine that.)

44% less likely to drink caffeinated soda (I don’t drink soda.)

36% less likely to have sweaty palms (not usually a big problem for me)

15% more likely to have hair that becomes frizzy in humid weather (ding ding!!)

And so many more!

It even provided a fun little map of the USA that showed where DNA relatives (who have taken the test) live in relation to me. Seems as though the largest number live in California. Kind of crazy as I only know of one person who lives out there that I found during my family tree research so many years ago. Massachusetts also made the list of top 10 states. What?!? I don’t know any relatives here though when I did my family tree I had found a bunch of connections to western Massachusetts. It also provides a world map. I have relatives in Australia (no wonder I have always had a thing for koala bears) and Great Britain (maybe I am related to Prince William….I always knew I was royalty).

There are so many other things that the test shows, but here is the one that got me the most….ancestry. Growing up I knew I was Scotch-Irish. There was a little French Canadian mixed in. When I did my family tree research I traced a small part of the family back to Germany but that was about all I knew as to my roots. This test painted me a whole other picture and how fascinating it was!!

According to this test, I can be traced all the way back to Neanderthal times to Neander Valley, Germany.  I am 100% European, 57.5% being from the British Isles and Ireland. I am also Scandinavian, French, German and Finnish and a few other areas.  But the biggest shock came when I found out that I was 15.4% Ashkenazi Jewish. What in the world? I had never heard mention of this before. When I clicked on the box that gives you extra facts and info, it said:

“You most likely had a grandparent, great-grandparent, or second great-grandparent who was 100% Ashkenazi Jewish. This person was likely born between 1860 and 1920.”

That is crazy that a test like this can tell me that! I am so curious about where this Jewish heritage comes in to play. I wish I had my great grandparents and my grandfather here. They would be able to open so many more doors with their knowledge.  I wish when I was younger I knew more about and understood these things. I would have asked so many questions. It isn’t like I can ask my “father” questions about his family. I don’t even know who he is.

Either way though, it is super cool to know this new information about myself!! I love learning new things and what better way to conclude all the years of research I did into my family tree than with such a cool test that tells me so much more about who I am and where I can from!


2 Responses to “Have You Seen My Ancestors?”

  1. Zachary P. Hubbard May 10, 2017 at 1:12 am #

    Too cool… you have a blog. I look forward to reading your entries!


    • citygirl0801 May 10, 2017 at 12:26 pm #

      so glad you like it!! I am hoping I can keep it interesting 🙂


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