Tag Archives: Family History

Using DNA to Talk to Ancestors

My husband James Harris and my daughter Adelaide on the day she came home from the hospital
My husband James and daughter Adelaide headed home from the hospital. Finding out his DNA profile will help give her a better picture of her ancestors.

One of my biggest regrets when I was younger was that I never really took the time to sit down with my grandparents and really listen. They were more than willing to talk about where they came from and where their parents came from. They could have talked for days. They had stories to tell and at the time I didn’t have the intelligence to listen.

I didn’t realize a day would come where I wouldn’t be able to ask those questions.

I don’t want my daughter to have to question it. I want her to know where her ancestors came from.

I wrote last week about how I had my DNA analyzed by AncestryDNA and some of the findings. What I failed to mention was that I also want to have my husband’s DNA analyzed. Lucky for me, he agreed. The DNA has been received in Ireland and in a few short weeks we hope to have some answers.

My husband’s family is fairly small and a little difficult to trace compared to mine. I find I come out with more questions than answers when trying to trace his roots. I am hopeful his ethnicity estimate and matches help unlock some keys to his heritage.

Isn’t it amazing that we can find answers about our heritage with technology?

© Corina Harris 2016

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