Tag Archives: DNA

My Irish Truth

All my life, I have been living a lie.

Okay so maybe it’s not that bad. All my life I have believed myself to be Irish. I thought I was Irish and Scottish and that’s my heritage. I romanticized the highlands and the green isle and I dreamed of going there and walking in my ancestor’s footsteps.

Yes, I can still do that.

Yes, I am part Irish and Scottish.

I mentioned in this past post about how British I am thanks to my AncestryDNA testing. I was excited really about this. It confirmed what I was finding in my genealogy research and as for the purpose of the tests, British also includes Scotland, so it all made sense to me.

Corina Harris Ancestry DNA certified 6% IrishBut then I looked at my Irish number.


Wait a minute. 6% seems a little low. All my life I believed my grandfather on my mother’s side was purely Irish and that we had a strong connection there. I should be 25% Irish. 6%?!

But then I started thinking about everything I’ve uncovered so far. It is true that my great-grandfather William Richard Hyde came to Canada when he was a very young boy from Ireland. At 5 years old, he arrived in Quebec on June 13, 1876 with his brother and his mother, Eliza Jane Mitchell. He spent the rest of his life here, marrying a local girl named Mary Ann Marcy whose family has roots in England.

So if my great-grandfather is Irish, shouldn’t my DNA be at least 12%?

This is how I came to resolve a mystery I had been having for a really long time about my family.

My great-grandfather was only half Irish.


It was staring me in the face and it made so much more sense than I ever imagined. I’ve done some research on that side of the family, well as much as I can since a large amount of Irish records have been destroyed unless you go there and hunt cemeteries. It always perplexed me how online records would show up for an Eliza Jane Mitchell (my 2x great grandmother) being born in England but nothing in Ireland. Perhaps she actually isn’t Irish after all.

It’s a bit heartbreaking to me. I know that it shouldn’t be, I mean, it isn’t like my life has really been affected in any major way.  My Irish roots are formed from a very specific family line, one in which I have very little information on. I’m a Canadian through and through but I really thought I had deep Irish roots. I have the name of my 2x great-grandfather Henry Hyde but no other details. It’s a dead end and leaves a large hole in my tree.

This St. Patrick’s Day I’m proud to be 6% Irish but I’d be lying if I didn’t say I want to know more.


© 2016 Corina Harris

Examining my DNA – God Save the Queen!

Being a bit of a genealogy geek, it was only a matter of time before I found myself spitting into a tube in order to have my DNA tested by AncestryDNA. I know I wrote about my trepidation in this blog post, but I must admit, I was incredibly excited to see if it would prove or disprove my family history findings.

Ancestry says that it could take 4-6 weeks for the results to come in. I was pleasantly surprised to get an email 3 weeks later. It was in early?!? Fantastic news!

When the results are in, you need to log in to the website www.dna.ancestry.ca (if you are in Canada) or www.dna.ancestry.com if you are in the US. The top of the page shows who the test is for and then you are immediately met with two key areas:

  • Ethnicity Estimate
  • DNA Matches

DNA matches are broken down from people that have had their DNA tested and are possible matches for you. Due to privacy, I won’t get into too much detail on this section, but it can certainly help you expand your family tree as you will certainly find cousins you never knew you had.

Ethnicity Estimates
This is what everyone who does a DNA test is initially looking for. The DNA is examined for certain markers which help indicate where in the world your ancestors have come from. If you want to know more about the science of it all – click here.

AncestryDNA, Ethnicity Estimate, Pie Chart, Quirkycori
This pie chart shows the AncestryDNA Ethnicity Estimate for Corina Harris

Here is my AncestryDNA Ethnicity Estimate breakdown:

  • 87% from Great Britain
  • 6% from Ireland
  • 5% from Europe West.
  • (I have two trace regions as well but they are negligible)

Below the pie chart, I was able to open a link which went into greater detail about my full ethnicity estimate and everything shows that I am 100% European. This matches with my family history research thus far but the breakdown was a bit surprising.

By clicking on the first option “Great Britain” it is explained as the following:

Primarily located in: England, Scotland, Wales
Also found in: Ireland, France, Germany, Denmark, Belgium, Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, Italy

The AncestryDNA team has included quite a bit of information about how the DNA from Great Britain can be complicated. Yes it has been strongly influenced by the Romans, Anglo-Saxon, Vikings and Normans, however through testing and research original native populations were able to survive even with invaders joining their population.

And in my opinion this is where it gets interesting.

AncestryDNA, Great Britain, Corina Harris, quirkycori
How Corina Harris compares to the typical person native to the Great Britain region

I have 87% of the DNA markers they expect from someone from Great Britain. The average native only has 60%!

I know that my paternal grandfather’s family lived in the same tiny village for at least a few hundred years. My great-grandparents on my paternal grandmother’s side were also from a small remote village but in Scotland. Could my ancestors from my father’s side of the family be that closely related to the original people of Great Britain?

My mother’s side has a lot more history in North America – going back at least 250 years. This test proves the majority of them must have originally been from the British Isles as well. How incredilby unexpected in my family tree!

The AncestryDNA team has gone into great detail about Great Britain in the profile. It explains the history of the area, which other regions might be found in the DNA and even provides hints about why people may have emigrated away from the area. It’s all so fascinating to know that these are my ancestors!

I can’t believe I found all of this information just by looking at the top location in my ethnicity estimate and I can’t believe that I have more pure British blood than the average person from Great Britain. And so I say to my breathern, God Save the Queen!

AncestryDNA, Corina Harris, Map, Ethnicity Estimate
Ethnicity Estimate map for Corina Harris through AncestryDNA.

© Corina Harris 2016