Wednesday, December 10, 2014

My Ethnicity

Years ago when I started to really dig deep into my genealogy, I took a DNA test which among other things provided you with an ethnicity map showing where your ancestors came from. The map I received looked very much like the one above which was neat, but didn't contain a lot of detail. Since then, the company that administered the test has revamped their results and provided a lot more information to me. Included now is a list showing exact percentages of my DNA that coincides with ethic groups in specific regions of the world. My list is as follows:

Great Britain - 63%
Western Europe (France and Germany region) - 23%
Scandinavia (Norway and Sweden) - 5%
Ireland - 4%
Iberian (Spain) - 2%
Italy/Greece - < 1%
Caucasus (Turkey/Syria/Iran/Iraq region) - < 1%
North Africa - < 1%

In summary, I'm about as white as can be at 98% European. I'm not really surprised but I was hoping for perhaps a little more exotic blood in me from somewhere, perhaps even Native American blood. Alas, it is not to be. Most of the ancestors that I have traced back across the ocean have led me to Great Britain so it really isn't a surprise that almost two-thirds of me goes back there. I also have a number of ancestors from Germany so that too doesn't surprise me. What does surprise me is that my Scandinavian percentage is more than my Ireland percentage. I have traced a handful of ancestors across the ocean to Ireland but have not traced one back to Norway or Sweden.  I also haven't traced any back to Spain, Italy, Greece or the Middle East or northern Africa either but my DNA doesn't lie so they are back there somewhere.

That doesn't surprise me either because of the hundreds of direct ancestors I have traced, I have only traced a couple dozen back overseas. The vast majority of my ancestors simply disappear into the 18th century when paper records were not kept as often or preserved for eternity. They were here before we were the United States of America, possibly as colonists or even descendants from the Mayflower. Perhaps someday I will find more paper trails but to do so, I'm going to have to travel and dig through old archives that probably never will be digitized. Maybe then, I will discover some Scandinavian ancestors to explain that 5% of me that courses with their blood.


Sol said...

Hi there. First time commenting. Dont forget that us, the UK, have been invaded again and again, your Germanic blood could have come from that and also French. And Scotland and Yorkshire had Vikings coming invading. Many Scots have Scandinavian blood. I find this all so interesting. Maybe the African and Arab connections are from the silk road. Maybe you have some wealthy merchants in your ancestry.

Really interesting post. Thanks

edifice rex said...

I have a friend that's really into ancestry and she's been after me to have my DNA sampled. The company she uses, and gave me the info for, is 23 and Me, I believe. I find it all very interesting too and may have mine done before long.

Ed said...

Sol - Welcome and thanks for commenting! You make very good points that might explain some of the different bloods coursing through my veins. I am constantly reminding myself that when it comes to genealogy, nothing is ever as simple as it seems.

Edifice Rex - I have heard of 23 and Me. I think most of them provide similar services but I think that one and the one I took through Ancestry seem to get the best reviews. The two best ones to get are the one I wrote about describing ethnicity and also they make one that a male in your family can do that traces your direct paternal lineage back and allow you to find cousins who have also taken the same test. There is also a maternal line test as well, but it is much harder to locate cousins due to the practice of females accepting their husbands names.