A bit of a different post today because I'm going to be talking about family history and, in particular, the AncestryDNA test. October is Family History Month so it seemed the perfect time to look at the new way of learning more about your history: genealogy DNA tests!
I am fascinated by my family history, mainly because I know so little about it.. my only close relative left is my Dad and he doesn't know that much himself so it really is a mystery for us! I spent some time looking at lots of different DNA tests before deciding that AncestryDNA was the one for me.
I'm going to tell you what I think about the results, the process of taking the test and a little bit of general information about the tests too, so if you're interested in knowing more about where you come from then keep reading!
First things first, what is a genealogy DNA test? Basic answer, you spit in a tube, then a clever team of people find your DNA from that and work out where your ancestors came from. There are really 3 types of DNA test available: Y-DNA, these tests are for men and follow the paternal line, Mitochondrial DNA, these are for men and women but follow the maternal line , and Autosomal DNA these are for both men and women and looks at all 22 of your chromosomes, not just the y one for men, that gives 700,000+ markers to look at and it's this last test that AncestryDNA use. If you're really into your family history it might be worth getting all 3 tests done for a really good idea of your makeup but for now I'm sticking with Ancestry's Autosomal.
Ordering an AncestryDNA test is nice and easy, just log onto the website www.ancestry.co.uk/dna/ and follow the instructions. It's £79 + delivery and should be with you fairly quickly. Once it's arrived it's test time!
Luckily your test will come with step-by-step instructions to walk you through so as long as you follow them you shouldn't have any issues.
The first stage is to activate your test on the website, this is easy to do and if you don't already have an Ancestry account just set one up.
Once you've added your code (you might notice I blank out some things in this review, it's just for privacy), you enter your name, birth year, sex and decide whether or not you're willing to participate in research. And then Voila! You've activated your test and it's time to take it.
- Remember don't eat, drink, smoke or chew gum within 30 minutes of doing your test as this can affect your saliva and that's not good! -
It's time to spit, it's not a lot although my mouth went completely dry halfway through so it took me a while but once you're up to the black line you take the funnel off and put the cap with the blue stabilising liquid on instead, screw it on tightly and you'll see the fluid mix in with your saliva.
Once the fluid is all in it's time to shake it up for 5 seconds before popping it into the bag and placing the bag into the box. Then you just need to pop it into the postbox and away it'll go to be tested!
If you log onto the Ancestry website once you've sent it off you'll be able to see when it's arrived, when it's being tested and when your results are ready to view (they'll email you to let you know)! It took about 2-3 weeks for my results to come in but times vary according to demand.
When my email arrived I was so excited and couldn't wait to find out where I came from.. it was results time!
When you first log on this is what you'll see, your DNA story which shows you where you come from, your DNA matches that helps you find possible relatives and DNA Circles which require you to make a public family tree. For me it was the DNA story that I was most interested in and the real reason for taking the test in the first place so I was ready to look at some maps!
Straight away I knew I was in for some surprises.. the vast majority of my family are British or Irish, with some Italian thrown in, but that's not what my DNA shows my history as and I was fascinated. I knew I had some French ancestry from a long time ago, but to see such a big percentage being Europe West was a surprise, although looking at the countries it covers (which can include certain parts of Italy) it made sense. The Irish/Scotland/Wales percentage was definitely higher than I expected and where the hell did the Scandinavia part come from?! Seeing 8% labelled as Great Britain was a surprise, I had expected it much higher but it's not something I'm in any way disappointed about and they got the more specific regions spot on.
The Low Confidence Regions really brought a surprise for me, not so much the Iberian Peninsula although that was really lovely as I've had a long love affair with Spain, but the Polynesian!
If you click through to print your results you get a lot more information about what your different regions mean and I wouldn't definitely recommend reading them because I found out that the Polynesian aspect was likely related to the Scandinavian so that was a great link to make although I have no idea where either of them come from!
If you click on the different regions you get a breakdown of your range and the different locations that make up that region. Obviously most British people are going to see quite a mix because it's a country built on immigration but it's really interesting to see that out in front of you.
I also clicked through to see my potential relatives and there's definitely a couple of promising matches there so as I build up my family tree more it's something I'll go back and look into more!
In the end, I was really excited to do this test to find out more about where I came from and it more than exceeded my hopes and expectations. It was easy and quick to do, a great value price for what you get and I learnt so much, with a couple of surprises thrown in along the way. It's only further fuelled my love of family history and I cannot wait to find out more! I'm quite tempted to get another test for my Dad to take to see how we match up, as that might show which bits come from his side and which comes from my Mum.
Would I recommend the AncestryDNA test? Yes yes yes, absolutely, to anyone and everyone. Whether it's for you or as a gift for someone else (Christmas is just around the corner!).
The website works well and you're given plenty of information that helps you really make the most out of your results, and as I mentioned click to print off your results and you get even more information.
The only thing I'd like to see is an option to buy a printed book with the results and relevant information, that could make it a really special gift to give or as a family keepsake.
Final opinion? You won't regret buying one, great gifts, amazing information and the potential for real surprises. It's a big yes from me.. now I just need to track down that Polynesian ancestor!
I'd love to know what you think of this review, have you done an AncestryDNA test or is it something you're thinking of doing in the future? Drop me a comment below with all your thoughts!
Stay safe, x