So I took a DNA test…

…and the results were really surprising!

Okay, the 99% European part was not surprising. As far as I can tell, all of my ancestors came to the United States from either the Czech lands, the British Isles, or Scandanavia. But the proportions are WAY different from what I was expecting!

My sister took the same test, and she came up with 25% Czech and only 33% Scandinavian. To be honest, this test made me question if we even have the same father! But our dad also took the test, and according to Ancestry.com, the probability that we are both descended from him is nearly 100%. But wow—I had no idea siblings could be so genetically different!

Another big surprise was the complete lack of any Irish genetics at all! Seriously, it’s like I got everything in Europe except Irish and Jewish (my father, by the way, has European Jewish in his results). I always thought my bright red beard was from my Irish ancestors, but I guess I’ve got more in common with this guy:

I’m still trying to work my mind around it.

From what I can tell, my Scandinavian ancestors—from whom I may derive more than half of my genetics—came in multiple waves. The earliest were probably among the Viking invaders who colonized Britain and set up the Danelaw. This would explain how I got only an 8% estimate from Great Britain when nearly a third of my first generation immigrant ancestors (give or take) came from there. A bunch of others probably came over in the Norman invasion with William the Conqueror.

That’s all just speculation, though. What I do know for certain is that at least 25% of my direct line ancestors came from Denmark and Sweden after converting to Mormonism. Maybe most of my genetic ancestry comes through them? I don’t know.

The other interesting part of the test results is the Genetic Communities tab. The Mormon Pioneers community is a no-brainer, but according to Ancestry.com, the genetic link to the Early Settlers of the Lower Midwest & Virginia is actually stronger (40% confidence versus 20%). My sister didn’t even have that community in her results! I don’t think she had the Settlers of Middle Tennessee either.

From what I can tell, both of those communities come through my paternal grandmother, whose lines go waaaaaay back to before the Revolutionary War. Looks like my sister got the Czech genes from my Dad, while I got the early American ones.

There’s a lot of really really fascinating stuff to unpack here. Also, Ancestry.com has linked me to more than 900 other people who have taken their DNA test, all of whom are cousins!

The next step is to build a family tree on Ancestry.com to compare with the ones compiled by my cousins. This DNA-based collaboration could be really interesting, and potentially lead to some breakthroughs. Until now, I’ve primarily used Family Search for my research, which is basically a single cloud-based family tree that connects with everyone in the world, theoretically. However, my paternal grandmother’s lines on Family Search tend to become unreliable at around 1820 and before. It’s going to be a real project to clean all those lines up. Maybe Ancestry.com can help with that.

Cool stuff!

Author: Joe Vasicek

Joe Vasicek is the author of more than twenty science fiction books, including the Star Wanderers and Sons of the Starfarers series. As a young man, he studied Arabic and traveled across the Middle East and the Caucasus. He claims Utah as his home.

2 thoughts on “So I took a DNA test…”

    1. As far as ethnicity estimates go, we’re still in the early phases of development and there’s a lot of refinement left to do. But as far as connecting you with your relatives, it’s remarkably accurate.

      As for being paranoid, Ancestry.com is a private company. I trust them a lot more than I trust the government, or a heavily regulated industry like healthcare. If you’re going to test your DNA, these guys are legit.

Leave a Reply