This post on my AncestryDNA experience is a little belated. I hesitated sharing because I’m very emotional when it comes to my family and background but it didn’t feel right to keep something that has brought me an intense amount of excitement over the past few months a secret.
By now you’ve probably seen at least one, but last summer I began to see more Ancestry.com commercials, except this time it was for the AncestryDNA test. The campaign depicts a person who took a simple test and unlocked information about an ethnic background she was completely unaware of!
Remember when I went to BlogHer? Well, Ancestry had a booth and I went over to say hello. I was too excited, saying “OMG! I just saw a commercial about the DNA test and I’ve been wanting to start tracing my lineage, but have been putting it off,” and before I could finish my sentence the event person handed me an AncestryDNA test. My jaw dropped and I couldn’t stop thanking her.
I didn’t open my test for a bit after I returned home. The fear of the unknown is a trip. I was curious but also a little bit nervous. But one fall afternoon, I decided to unbox it and get the process started.
The DNA Sample
The kit is rather simple. Upon opening the box, you have to activate your kit online, which includes entering the code on your package and basic information about yourself. So that’s exactly what I did!
From there, I gathered my DNA. How? With saliva. I had to spit into a tube up to a certain level, shake it, put it in the collection bag, and place it in the return mailer. If you’re wondering if it’s a little weird, the answer is yet. The good news is that it’s over before you know it.
Once I mailed it off, the waiting game began and about three weeks later, I received an email notifying me of my results. I couldn’t wait to log into my account to see.
I went into this knowing that starting on my maternal great-grandmother’s side that there was Irish and possibly Native American, and that we have a famous cousin: Nina Mae McKinney (this was confirmed via Ancestry). I also knew that my maternal great-grandfather’s grandfather was a former slave who has a short story documented in a book. That’s pretty much the extent. Without knowing any of that, I had a hunch that I wasn’t “all black” by being a descendant of slaves, but I never saw my results coming.
66% African descent and 31% European descent. 31%, and Scandinavia is the leading region?! To me, that felt like a lot, but the DNA don’t lie.
The other 3% was a combination of Native American, Asian and Pacific Islander which was interesting! From there, it broke down the match even further once I clicked on each country. It showed me how much my DNA compares to a native person. For example, my 25% of Malian compares to a native with 39% since most people in the region are admixed.
If you thought that receiving detailed info on your DNA was all that you’d get out of the test, I’m here to tell you I unlocked even more. AncestryDNA shows you people that have taken the test that you share DNA with.
My DNA Matches
My list of people that I match with is so long that it’s overwhelming and probably impossible to trace the connection. But, my list starts with 2nd-3rd cousins. The interesting part of this all is that I have not recognized one face! And we’re talking 2nd cousins! The people that I share the highest DNA match with haven’t logged in to their account in over a year, so it’s making it super difficult to get in touch with them. I have made contact with some people that I don’t share such a close connection with, and we are working to figure out the connection. I am getting lost once I reach my great-grandparents because the lack of birth records and there isn’t much written or oral history for me to go off of.
I want to continue making contact with those I have connections with so that we can further build our family trees. I am also considering hiring an expert through Ancestry because I am hungry to put together at least ONE whole line. Also moving forward, I will be gifting members of my family DNA kits so we can put pieces of this puzzle together.
If you’re interested in kicking off your own genealogy journey, click this link and save 10% off of your DNA kit. Have you already started? Share your most fascinating discovery in the comments below!
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary AncestryDNA kit with no obligation to write a post. If you choose to purchase a DNA kit with the link above, I will receive a referral credit. Thanks for your support!