Normally I don't buy something because of a commercial. In fact I can count on one hand the number of times a commercial sold me something. The AncestryDNA commercials are lame, and not completely honest, but they were able to sell me their product. I say not completely honest because in one of their commercials they have a woman from South America saying that she always thought she was a Latina but she did the test and found out she is actually Native American, Asian, and European. Um duh, and what did she think Latina is? The funny thing is this test has no genetic marker for "Latino" which is why I say the commercial is dishonest. Her test changes nothing. She's still from whatever country it was in South America and she is still Latina. If not for the Asian and European blood she would be a Native American living in the Amazon far from civilization. Somehow I managed to get past the stupid marketing gimmick though and was interested in doing the test.
On my mom's side of the family we know a lot of our family history. My mom's family were British royals and nobles so the records were good. We know my mom was related to Queen Elizabeth I, Anne Boleyn, Sir John Harrington (Elizabeth's cousin and inventor of the flushing toilet), William The Conqueror, and his great grandfather Rollo. On my dad's side we knew a little over 100 years back. And then there's Natalie's family where we don't really know anything past her great grandmother. On her mom's side there were rumors about blood from India or Pakistan mixed with Taíno and on her Dad's side Spanish, Italian, and Filipino. So after months and months about talking about doing the test I finally shelled out the cash and did it.
So first off how does this work? I had a lot of questions that no one could answer, turns out it's on the website. Genetics of a population in a certain region change over time so what time are they looking at? Well turns out they took samples of something like 3000 natives from 26 different regions around the world and figured out what genetic markers belonged to each region. The only region that the natives have 100% of the blood from their region was Native American. British natives have 60% of those genes, Arabs 69%, European Jews 96%, Nigerian 69%, etc. So that is how the test works. So of course this tells you your DNA not necessarily where your family came from. It does and doesn't do that depending on circumstances.
So what were the results? On my side not a whole lot of surprises. 53% British. I'm 97% European and 3% Middle Eastern. Shocker. Less Portuguese than I was expecting since culturally speaking I'm 1/8 Portuguese, European Jew and Eastern European which were a little surprising but not a huge shocker, and 3% Middle Eastern, I'm actually surprised it wasn't a little higher. Anyone that knows Sicily's history knows that Africans and Middle Easterner's took over the island which is why Italians from the mainland treat Sicilians like bastard step children. I told my family Middle Eastern would show up and I don't think anyone really believed me until I got the results.
I shared my results on facebook and was a little surprised by the stupidity of some of my friends. People saying they are afraid to do the test because they might find something they don't like. WTF? How does your blood change who you are? The funny thing is one of the people that said that is most likely British and if you know British history were the Brits really any better than the rest of the world? I don't just know my genetics I know who some of my royal family were and they weren't good people. That was 500 years ago though, get over it. The most interesting conversation I had was with a great aunt. My mom was asking my great grandparents if the Paulins came from Germany or France and the answer she got was basically an I don't know. Well my great aunt Margorie cleared it all up. Apparently in the early 1900's the Paulins came from an area known as Alsace Lorraine which was created by the German empire and fought over in the Franco-Prussian War. 85% of the population spoke German, including the Paulins, but now it's part of France. I haven't actually read that much into the history of the area but it's on my to do list.
So now Natalie's results. Before I spill the beans I'll share my pre-test estimate. I thought probably some Native American (Taíno) survived the Colombus massacre even though the actual Taínos no longer exist, then some Spanish, Italian, Filipino, maybe some Indian (dot not feather), and about 15-20% African. Turns out there was a lot more African than I guessed, no Filipino, no Indian, and the shocker was probably the British, European Jew, and Scandinavian. I'm the one that is a descendant of Rollo and I had no Scandinavian but my wife does. Not a lot but it's there. I guess over a millennia it's all out of my blood line. It would be interesting if more of her family did this test so we could get a better idea of where each of the genes come from. It would be even more interesting if we actually found out where her family came from but that doesn't look like it's going to be easy.
Here are my results
In every region we both were below the typical native. No surprise there. This was the closest either of us got to the Native population. I have to say if genetics are this close to the natives in the UK 150 years after my family came here and mixed up with everyone else my family 150 years ago were probably all inbred.
So it turns out my kids are 1/5 African. These test are funny because they destroy people's ignorant notions that they are pure bred whatever they think they are. A couple years ago I wrote a blog post which mentioned a white supremacist that found out he is 17% Sub-Saharan African on TV. It was hilarious. They claim that 47% of white Americans have African blood. People look at all the blonde hair, blue eyed people and think that is not possible. Well look at my daughter.
I have to say it's a good thing I'm not living 150 years ago and no longer Mormon. Brigham Young would have had me killed. Yeah they have tried to throw him under the bus, but they contradict themselves by saying their prophets can't lead people astray. Plus they haven't changed the name of either one of their universities named after a hateful racist who compared his wives to cattle.
"Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so." -Brigham Young (Journal of Discourses, vol. 10, p. 110). It's on byu.lib so it's Mormon approved literature.