Posted in Technology, Trends

Figuring Out Your Ancestry – Making Sense of Your DNA Results

PV_DNA_Pie_ChartThis month, after thinking about the possibilities for years, I received my DNA ancestry results from Ancestry.com. It was a much desired Christmas gift that cost about $80 and a month of excitement and anxiety. I began 2018 finally learning about my ancestral heritage, but after the climactic reveal, I was left wanting to know much more. This quest for specific genetic information of myself led me to multiple questions that eventually left some doubt in my initial DNA findings.  I now, however, have made sense of the numbers and am confident in stating I am 55 percent European, 21 percent African, 21 percent Native American, and three percent Middle Eastern.

I was informed something to that effect with my first results but with such a sensitive and important matter, I needed to find a reliable way to verify the complex information.  I wanted to see how accurate these initial numbers were, so I requested a second DNA analysis from another company. I noticed a significant difference in the ethnicity results. I then submitted my raw data file – which can be downloaded after your results are completed – to a third company to find yet another surprisingly slight variation. I decided that I would cross-reference as many results as possible to confidently determine the breakdown of my own ethnicity.

I took my raw DNA data file and provided it to three free online sites/tools for their analysis, paid $20 to have my DNA analyzed by one company, bought an online app for $5 for another analysis and requested a free review from another company. In total, I was able to compare eight different sets of my DNA results. I entered the data in a color-coded multi-tabbed spreadsheet and averaged out related results to create one trustworthy master set of scientifically sound data that I could fully own and faithfully believe and pronounce.

For this research, I compared my DNA analysis data from the following companies: Ancestry.com, FamilyTreeDNA, My Heritage, DNA.land, GenCove, WeGene, GenePlaza.com, and GEDmatch.com.

After several hours of crunching numbers and analyzing patterns I have determined, with overlapping evidence, that I am 25 percent Spanish (numbers were in the 22-30 percent range but averaged out at 25.) I learned that my Africanness mainly originates from Nigeria/West Africa, my Taino indigenous blood can be traced to the Mayan and Amazonian people of South America, and I was surprised to find out that I am about three percent Ashkenazi European Jewish.

DNA ancestral testing is very popular right now and as the cost of tests become more affordable, DNA testing will become even more widely accessible.  I think everyone should have his/her DNA tested. I now have a broader world perspective of who I am and where my ancestors came from. I look forward to learning more about my diverse historical ethnic background and making meaningful connections with my ancestors.

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Communication Professional and Writer/Blogger

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