Happy Fourth of July!
In the spirit of the holiday, I wanted to talk about heritage, and my recent obsession with ancestry.com! For my family, the Fourth has always coincided with our Family Reunion, so talking about my roots feels like a natural fit!
Over Christmas, I purchased the DNA kit from Ancestry for $69 (reg. $99. If you use this link, you can save 15%). I spit into a tube, mailed it back and it took roughly 4 weeks to receive my results! Via email, I found the following DNA Story:
30% Europe West
(Primarily located in: Belgium, France, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein)
25% Great Britain
(Primarily located in: England, Scotland, Wales)
(Primarily located in: Ireland, Wales, Scotland)
(Primarily located in: Sweden, Norway, Denmark)
6% Europe East
(Primarily located in: Poland, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Austria, Russia, Hungary, Slovenia, Romania, Serbia, Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia)
According to Ancestry, my relatives were lower Midwest and Virginia settlers (which makes total sense because I still have family there).
After the DNA Test
Once you have your DNA results, you can start adding people to your family tree on the Ancestry website! This has gotten pretty addicting for me. My DNA was matched to tons of other people who have also taken the DNA test. It’s so crazy to see people on there that I actually know I am related to! It’s gotta be correct, then – right? The website organizes these people by 1st, 2nd, 3rd Cousins, etc. and shows the confidence level that ancestry.com has that you are related. From here, you can click on a name and a window expands to show you if that particular person has added a family tree (this is when you can gather the best info for your own tree!). It also shows you the shared DNA matches between the two of you. It’s really a rabbit hole from here.
Find a Starting Point
Once you have a skeleton of a tree started (by adding your immediate family, your grandparents, aunts and uncles) ancestry.com will show you hints for each based on documents they have in their system. They search marriage licenses, census, newspaper clippings – everything! For relatives who travelled to America, you can see their name in the registration books, who they were with, where they came from, and sometimes how long the trip was! Typically I look for a document that has someone I am confident I am related to, look for their parents’ names and keep branching out from there! (Like I said, it can be very addicting).
I’ve traced one strand of my family tree all the way back to 14th century settlers! I’ve found out I’m related to this guy (he has his own Wiki page!) and I’m a descendant of the real McCoy Family from the Hatfield and McCoy Feud.
Want to learn about your own heritage?
If you’ve had any thoughts about getting the ancestry.com DNA test for yourself, you should! I personally want to know everything there is to know about myself, and that comes with knowing everything there is to know about my family. I find it interesting to learn about people I’m related to, then go back and ask my grandma if she’s heard of them. Typically she has stories about when she was younger that relate to that person! It’s something that I’d like to pass on to my children, and there’s really no time like the present to learn it all!
Have you taken a DNA test and found any interesting relatives?