Story image
Why DNA?

Many of us have swabbed, spit, and sent off our samples for various reasons. Me? I had several brick walls I’d hit while working on my family tree and wanted to see if my DNA results would help steer me in the correct direction. By utilizing Ancestry’s vast database and leaving my results open so others could find me, I’ve been impressed at the results, immediately being linked with an aunt on my mother’s side and cousin on my father’s side, none of us aware that the other had been tested. Those links really helped my faith in the rest of the results.


Others have submitted to DNA testing for a variety of reasons. Some people are looking for their biological parents or are utilizing the medical data garnered to answer medical history questions that they haven’t been able to answer before. Some are trying to become members of organizations such as the Daughters or Sons of the American Revolution and need help connecting to other family trees to nail down that long-lost soldier. Still others are just curious. And who can blame them? The world of DNA testing is absolutely fascinating.

Just today I came across a story of two best friends in Hawaii. These men have been friends for 60 years (since the sixth grade!) when one of the men got two different DNA tests for gifts. A few years later, the other friend sent in his DNA samples, trying to find his biological father. After getting their results, the two men were matched and discovered, after 60 years of friendship, that they were brothers. (Check out the full story at http://www.cnn.com/2017/12/27/health/friends-brothers-dna-discovery-hawaii-trnd/index.html)


My DNA Story

Of course, DNA testing also can return some really surprising results, such as unexpected paternity or unknown siblings. (https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2017/lifestyle/she-thought-she-was-irish-until-a-dna-test-opened-a-100-year-old-mystery/?utm_term=.b65414d6a618) My results haven’t brought forth anything that earth-shattering, but I was able to dispel the common myth of any Native American ancestry (aren’t we all told that there’s a Cherokee princess in our family tree?).


What I did find really interesting is that my “low-confidence” results included areas like Greece, Italy, Turkey, Spain, Portugal, and Syria (maybe I’m related to the Georges!). Both my father and sister are darker-skinned than I am, and that Middle Eastern or Hispanic heritage could explain that. Otherwise, my very European and Scandinavian ancestry is readily seen when looking at my phosphorescent façade.


Whatever your reason for sending in your spit, DNA testing and its results are a fascinating and quickly-growing field. The more individuals that get tested, the wider the database grows and the more accurate the results will be.


Just remember, you are more than your genes!

[Header image courtesy Pixabay.]