First off - welcome to my new blog! If you're a reader of my old Blogger genealogy blog, Threading Needles in a Haystack over at http://www.threadingneedlesinahaystack.blogspot.com/, thanks for joining me here at my new website! And for any new readers who have just found me - welcome! Today we're going to be talking about more DNA genealogy fun, specifically my Dad's AncestryDNA results.
(Just as an FYI to my readers - the AncestryDNA disclaimer says it takes 6-8 weeks to get results back after they receive your sample, I've never had it take more than 2 weeks...my dad's results came back in 13 days...)
So I bought my dad an AncestryDNA kit for Father's Day - I've taken the test and my sister took the test. I'll admit that though the present was for my dad, since I know he's interested in genealogy as well, it was also for me - I'm using my known relatives as "cousin catchers," to see who they might genetically match to that I don't (these matches would also be my relatives, we just wouldn't have inherited the same DNA snippets...) But I'm also interested in the genetic differences between me and my close relatives - for example, while my sister and I have a lot of the same background, I inherited Eastern European DNA and she did not, and she inherited Italian/Greek DNA and I did not.
In the case of my father, I was interested in his results for several reasons - first, to maybe clarify which side of my tree my ethnicity results came from and to also help narrow down any DNA matches I had where there was no common ancestor (unfortunately, I think I have a lot of Irish matches, and since I can't trace my Irish lines that far back, I can't find a common ancestor for these matches) - but if, let's say, my dad was also a match to one of these people, I would at least know it was an Irish match on my dad's side and not my mom's.
My dad's immediate ethnic background is very black and white - his father's family was from Ireland and his mother's family was from Germany. No other immediate countries come into the mix for as far back as I can trace (ranging from mid-1800s to back to the 1600s). So I expected the 30 percent Irish and 25 percent Europe West (Germany) in my dad's results. I even expected the Scandinavia, European Jewish and Europe East, as these all probably mixed in with the German side at some point. I was a little surprised my dad had 28 percent Great Britain - there are a lot of Gorrys who hail from Scotland, and while it's not out of the range of possibility that one (or more) of his Irish family members intermarried with someone from England or Scotland, 28 percent is a huge amount to show up with no genealogical evidence to show for it - if we inherited DNA evenly from every ancestor (which we don't), that's equivalent to one grandparent being 100 percent British, which I know my dad doesn't have - what it more likely means is he inherited a huge chunk of DNA from some British ancestor somewhat further back who I haven't found yet...interesting. Then we have the three surprise ethnicities - Italy/Greece, just like my sister...we are neither Italian nor Greek, so somewhere along the way we inherited some Mediterranean DNA; Caucasus, which is technically Asian but on the border with Europe - neither my sister nor I inherited that, but I imagine it's from a ways, ways back in my dad's genetic makeup - it's kinda cool to see something so ancient show up, that survived and was passed on after so many genetic mixes over the generations; and last but not least, Polynesian.
Yes, Polynesian. My dad, who technically has just Irish and German ancestry, not only has a much more diversified genetic makeup than I ever expected, but he somehow has South Pacific DNA. Now, a lot of Gorrys also ended up in Australia, but no one from behind us in the Gorry line that I'm aware of...so where did this come from? Is this also an ancient strand that somehow survived millennia? Was someone somewhere, sometime a sailor or explorer who somehow intermingled with and carried that gene back to Europe many generations later? Or was this just a laboratory mistake, a contaminated DNA sample? I'd be curious to hear from any of my readers what your thoughts are - do you know of many mistakes that have been made while using DNA for genealogy research? Have you experienced this for yourself, an extremely unexpected DNA result? Thoughts and comments are welcome!
And also just FYI - AncestryDNA kits are on sale 20 percent off ($79) until August 17th - so if you've been thinking of ordering one, now would be a good time to consider it! (I always buy them on sale :))