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Learning about your ancestry

Posted on Friday, November 17, 2017
One of us at Family Watchdog recently participated in a 23 and me study and was granted the opportunity to receive a free DNA ancestry kit for participating. We were shocked to find how simple and quick the process was and how in depth the DNA can go.

Taken from 23 and Me "Experience your ancestry in a new way! Get a breakdown of your global ancestry by percentages, connect with DNA relatives and more."

So I ordered the kit. I figured, why not, let's see if my parents were correct. Being part of a study, I have to answer a quick survey once a month - and it only takes about 10 minutes. After I ordered my kid, it took about 2-3 weeks to arrive. I left it on my desk and totally forgot about it for two weeks. First you have to register your kit online to your account that you created when you buy the kit. They also need a saliva sample, so you cannot have anything to eat or drink 30 minutes prior to spitting in this little tube they send. So I spit in the tube and seal it back up in their ready to go shipping box and drop it off in a Post Office mail collector.

From the day I dropped it off, to the day I got my results was anywhere from 10-14 days. You can track the shipping as well as what they are doing with your DNA (err, spit) online on your account. When your results are processed, they will send you an email that will take you to your account overview page.

At first glance, the results can be confusing - they send you an Ancestry Composition. For instance, mine shows the following:
European 100%
(Which breaks down into the following)
Northwestern European 92.2%
French & German 44.8%
British & Irish 22.%
Broadly Northwestern European 24.9%
Southern European 6.2%
Italian 2.6%
Broadly Southern European 3.6%
Ashkenazi Jewish 0.1%
Broadly European 1.5%

23 and Me also breaks down your ancestry timeline meaning "How many generations ago was your most recent ancestor for each population". Mine shows French & German between 1900-1960, British & Irish between 1870-1930 and Ashkenazi Jewish from 1720 (and earlier)-1810.

How cool would this have been if I would have done it when my grandparents were alive! We could try tracing more in depth by testing them as well!

About two weeks later I got an email that says my DNA family's ancestry is available. I knew that's what I signed up for, but I also forgot. So this was a pleasant surprise! So I log onto my account again and go to a different screen. MY DNA FAMILY. It was not what I expected. It's a DNA Relative tool, under the Tools tab. Basically, based on your DNA they find relatives you may or may not know about. For instance, the first result was my first cousin, who I know. It shows our DNA Strength of Relationship, which is 11.9% shared, 28 segments. I am still trying to learn what all that means. And after her, it shows a positive second cousin result along with 4 second-third cousins, and over two dozen possible third to fourth cousins. Which I learned you can message and share your DNA through the website as well.

I thought this DNA history report was a great tool to learning more about myself that may have been different from what my parents told me. Mine was pretty dead on, but still pretty interesting that they can find my cousin based off of a spit sample. Can you imagine what kind of doors this can open for people who are looking for family? Adults who were adopted with closed adoptions, Children who were placed into foster care because their parents passed, or this could even be used as a cool research project for school!

Right now 23 and me is having a Thanksgiving Family Offer with two or more kits for $49 each or a single kit at $69. Once the kit is bought, there are no additional shipping or processing fees. How cool would this be for a stocking stuffer!

What do you think of this technology? Would you do it?