By: Kristen Darkow
This past weekend, my parents attended a family reunion in Iowa where more than 250 relatives gathered to share family history and, for most of them, meet for the very first time!
They are all descendants of a couple who each immigrated from Norway and eventually met in Iowa and had 8 kids, so it’s turned into a huge family that settled in different places. So this weekend, when they all got together, they had shirts to mark which of the 8 kids they descended from:
How cool are these? Even though I wasn’t able to make it to the reunion, I ordered a shirt because I just think it’s such a fun idea. 🙂 This kind of stuff makes me so giddy. If I were retired, I would spend my days researching family history and records.
So, in that spirit, I thought I’d share a bit about our experience with Ancestry DNA. A year or two ago, just about everyone in my family got DNA kits for Christmas. We wasted no time with doing the test (which just involves spitting into a tube and mailing it in), and the results were back within a month or two!
I had a pretty good idea of what I would find out – based on where great-great grandparents immigrated from, I knew I was about 75% Norwegian, 12.5% Dutch and 12.5% German/French. However, I was hopeful that I would find out that I’m like 3% Chinese or something (how cool would that be?! Ha.) What I didn’t know, though, is that you can inherit a different amount of certain genes…it’s not uniform. For example, I could inherit less Norwegian than my brothers, but more Dutch, so they could be 75% Norwegian, 12.5% Dutch and I could be 55% Norwegian, 32.5% Dutch. Just like how siblings can inherit different hair and eye colors. I had no idea!
So, because of that, I’m not sure if the discrepancy in my results is because we were just wrong on some of our family history, or because I’ve inherited different amounts of things. So, without further ado, here are my results:
No wonder I’m so pale, huh? As you can see, I’m still mostly Norwegian, but I would have had no idea that there was that much Swedish in there! I also had no idea about England, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, and Finland. I don’t see any sign of Dutch or French/German, so I’m really curious what’s going on there! My grandma’s grandparents are straight from the Netherlands, and records prove that, so I’m not sure if I just didn’t inherit those genes, or what?!
The England and Wales portion was pretty cool to find out – we did some digging and found them to be some of the original settlers in the US! I also found out that Queen Elizabeth I is my great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great great grandmother. So that’s pretty neat.
The other interesting thing is that your results continue to change on the Ancestry website as more information is found out. My results now are quite a bit different than when I first got my results. At that point, I was significantly more Irish, and 0% Swedish! I’m not sure how that works or if I should question the accuracy, but I do find it all so interesting!
I think the key here is doing a bit of your own research, too. The website makes it so easy to source information and records from other people who share that relative. It’s fascinating to see marriage and baptism records written in Norwegian 200 years ago! Like I said, I could do this all day.
Have any of you done Ancestry DNA? Have you tried 23 and Me? What were your results? Is it what you expected? Share with us in the comments below!