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  #1  
Old 06-26-2017, 04:47 PM
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Default DNA testing for Genealogy

Has anyone done this?

My mom has been researching her family history as well as my father's and decided to do one of the "spit in a tube" tests back in December. She found it interesting and that it matched, in a pretty generic way, the documented information about her ancestors and their migration to the States.

Then came the next round...she asked if I would want to do it, too. My initial reaction was an indifferent "sure, if you're paying for it". She said she was going to order kits for me and my father. I still didn't think much of it.

But now that the kits are here, I'm having some reservations.

My parents used artificial insemination by donor to have me. It wasn't made known to me until I was almost 20. It took some time to move past that blow. While I know these tests don't reveal much, just some generalized info about your genetic heritage, I find myself feeling anxious all over again about the subject. Like opening up a wound.

I want to be that smiling person in the Ancestry.com commercial who talks about learning that her husband isn't Italian like he was raised to believe. But I'm not. :/
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Old 06-26-2017, 06:02 PM
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I was one of the earliest volunteers on the 23andMe.com bandwagon back when it was first starting out several years back. Kits back then only cost $49, and that included both ancestry and health reports. (Same deal goes for $199 now, it looks like.)

The ancestry stuff is interesting, because not only does it show you your genetic profile and what part of the world your bloodline comes from, but it also reveals your closest genetic relatives if they've also submitted saliva samples and chosen to share that information with other 23andMe members. Many a folk have discovered long-lost relatives this way, or reconnected with other close of kin. Whether that is something you are interested in or not, know that most of these services do allow you to opt-out so that you can maintain privacy if you'd rather not have anyone else be notified that you are genetically related to them.

I can understand having reservations about seeing your own health reports though. While I've found them very informative, finding out which diseases I'm more genetically-inclined to be at risk of developing so I can better change my lifestyle habits, there wasn't anything that alarming in my particular reports. However, knowing that you are great risk of developing, say, Alzheimer's once you get older could be quite distressing to learn. So in some cases ignorance may be bliss.

Genetic screening can be quite useful though if you're planning on having kids. Having both potential parents tested can be a good way to screen for recessive alleles that might make any potential offspring likely to develop certain serious disorders such as cystic fibrosis or sickle-cell disease or Tay-Sachs.

So it's kind of a mixed bag.
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Old 06-26-2017, 06:10 PM
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My understanding is this is a pretty stripped-down version-- generic ancestry by region. So why it's making me so nervous, I don't know.

The kit does link to a genealogy database for this company, so perhaps there is some potential to link to other related people. I don't know that I'd want to know that.

She's just so excited about. I already spit in the tube and gave it back to her. Guess I'll handle the notification of results when it comes in.
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Old 06-26-2017, 07:42 PM
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I would never do this. The last thing I want is some random company having my DNA sample. Might be a bit paranoid but you really never know.
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Old 06-26-2017, 08:23 PM
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I would never do this. The last thing I want is some random company having my DNA sample. Might be a bit paranoid but you really never know.
I considered that, too. But on a recent trip to the good 'ol OB/GYN, I noticed that my packet of papers included a notice that lab samples are used for anonymous data collection and research. I recall something similiar at my last physician's office. So if they really wanted my profile, they can take it from my cervix or from any blood draw.
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Old 06-26-2017, 11:17 PM
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I want to do it, but can't afford it right now. My great uncle didn't know who his father was until recently. He wrote a book about it, "The Stranger in my genes." He did it to find out about his history; who he is, where the other side came from. I totally understand the hesitation. I have been genetically tested 2x, one good, one bad.
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Old 06-27-2017, 02:31 AM
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Funny thing is, if they want your data, they can take it with ease.
Me, I look forward to finding out what my genetic make-up is.
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Old 06-28-2017, 07:39 AM
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My ex did this. Its funny because there was a rumor that they were a little bit native american. Everyone believed it.
So when his results came back with zero native american heritage.....the whole family was pissed off and said its not true.
My ex thinks thats funny.
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Old 06-28-2017, 09:12 AM
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My ex did this. Its funny because there was a rumor that they were a little bit native american. Everyone believed it.
So when his results came back with zero native american heritage.....the whole family was pissed off and said its not true.
My ex thinks thats funny.
Haha I have a feeling this same thing will happen with our family! My mom swears up and down that we are, based on rumours.

We plan on doing the DNA tests together when my husband gets out.
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Old 07-27-2017, 06:27 PM
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Well, the results are in. And I wish I hadn't read them. I said I wasn't going to but when the notice came I just opened it.

At the end of the day it reaffirmed what I already knew-- my dad isn't my biological father. I still don't know any more about my paternal side than I did before because my donor was dead-on with how they described their ethnicity. Almost shockingly so. I'm not much of a mutt.

It feels like re-opening a wound. But experience also tells me that this feeling fades. Over the last 20 years it's come and gone. So I'll sit with it, be grateful for the little information I have and be OK with that.
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Old 07-27-2017, 07:09 PM
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I saw this thread late but it is some thing really intriguing to me. I would like to do this testing but I am much too fearful.

I have said here once or twice that I never knew my father. I assumed all my life he was some guy from Yugoslavia [a Bosniak? a Serb? Croat? Slovene? Montenegrin?] that knew my mother „some how." My mother knew who he was but never told me. She had her reasons and I will not get into them. But, at the time, he was not a very nice man. When I would ask of him, she would tell me he was a bad word for donkey.

But late last year, I randomly fell seriously ill. And now, I needed genetic information. My mother could give her health history but not that of my father. Finally, she told me his name and minimal information about him. Everything became stabilized and I did not do much with that information for a couple months.

After awhile, I decided I wanted to find my father. I thought it would be impossible to find him in all of Russia. I found an investigator that had experience finding people in the region and simply a modern historian. She did what she could do on her end and then, had a reliable contact there. I waited for news and she would keep me updated on the process. After awhile, I got a call that they were fairly sure they got him.

With the portfolio and available photos, my mother was sure too.

I made contact with him and did not hear from him for awhile. That was expected as it is very much big news. I did not know if he would shun me or embrace me. Finally, I received a cold and reserved message from him that he would not „enter into a relationship" unless DNA testing was completed. Understandable.

I wanted to meet this man, as he was the closest option around for my father, and in spring, made the trip to Russia. DNA tests showed him as my father and all the resemblance is there anyway. Our relationship has grown in a short time that now I actually have a dad even at my age! And brothers and sisters in law! And grandparents! And a step-mother that does not like me so much.

But, here is the issue. All my life, I considered myself to be a Serb. And now, I have to get to know my Russian side and the language. Good thing we share Cyrillic! The main thing is that I am a human being.

I am interested so much in ancestry testing but I have had enough shocks right now!
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Old 07-27-2017, 07:21 PM
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I wanted to meet this man, as he was the closest option around for my father, and in spring, made the trip to Russia. DNA tests showed him as my father and all the resemblance is there anyway. Our relationship has grown in a short time that now I actually have a dad even at my age! And brothers and sisters in law! And grandparents! And a step-mother that does not like me so much.
I'm so glad to hear you've had a positive outcome! I would be incredibly hesitant to contact my donor because of the same reasons.

I am an only child, it would be interesting to know of siblings. However, I don't see me wanting a relationship so that makes me even less inclined to pursue it. No need to disrupt their lives for a bit of confirmation. There is a very slim (and it sounds ludicrous to write out, so I won't) chance I do know who my donor is. But that person would also very much know who I am and the one time I started that line of questioning, I was shut down in a friendly, but decisive, manner.

But I am glad to hear your reunion went well and now you have this whole other piece to add to your heritage!

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Old 07-27-2017, 07:42 PM
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Miamac, I understand these sentiments so well! I had very similar concerns and reservations about meeting / becoming involved in the lives of these people. I did not want to cause bother to their family dynamics, cause family issues or like you said, disrupt their lives. This gave me lots of second thoughts. I wanted to meet my father, in the end, to solve that mystery but I did not expect much. Our first meeting during that trip was terrible. It was heated. He was shocked my mother had not terminated the pregnancy or put me into an orphanage, as he expected her to do.

And my presence was visible unfaithfulness to his wife. It was tense! But all worked out!

But this is why I do not advise to all people to open these situations and questions. If it is some thing a person does not desire or feel comfortable with, or opens a sore like you say, it is best to find a peaceful place. A lot of this genetic information is unimportant to who we are today and we as people. [again, except for health...]
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Old 07-27-2017, 08:51 PM
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I ordered my kit a few days ago. I know I am not going to learn a great deal, but it is a little cool. I always thought my heritage only included German and Hungarian, but I learned during some investigating today that my great great grandmother was born in Switzerland. That was a surprise to my mother too! I, actually, think my great grandmother might have been a step-mother to my grandmother instead of her birth mother. My mom is shocked so I am not totally sure, but I read something today that implied it. I guess we shouldn't be surprised that other generations had secrets too!
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Old 07-27-2017, 09:02 PM
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I ordered my kit a few days ago. I know I am not going to learn a great deal, but it is a little cool.
It is pretty cool. I mean my dad (that raised me) was always told his family heritage was German. Turns out he's primarily Scandi and Irish.

I liked seeing the percentages. Of course because I have mom's to compare to, I can see where my paternal influence factors in. So that's something.

I guess I should add that it did, in fact, link me with people that are likely to be relatives. There is one first cousin, but the account is essentially blank. That person doesn't participate in the family tree part of the site. So, a shadowy indicator to my birth father's ID. But that's where it will stay.

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Old 07-27-2017, 11:36 PM
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My dad is the guy who raised me. My father is the genetic basis that didn't know I existed until I was something like 35 and reached out an inquiry. There's about a 20 year difference in age between the two. My family consists of 3 kids, of whom, I'm the only female (stuck in the middle, how screwed up is that?). My father's family has a blended group of children of whome I'm my father's oldest child by about 6 months - fertile dude. Further, they even adopted a kid - how totally strange is that? Anyway, I have a ton of half siblings and step siblings on his side, and that is a fun thing especially as there are more than a few girls, not just a bunch of boys. I've met him in person once, and we are Facebook friends. Kinda cool. But, he's my father, not my dad. My dad's dead, is the guy who taught me to shoot a basket and throw a ball (I do not throw like a girl, unlike my little brother....) and helped me pay my way through college. My father is not the guy who taught me to drive a stick r change a tire (even while wearing a suit). My father is the genetic donor to my being who has some strange parallels to my own life, mostly those outlying traits that made my parents shake their heads and wonder where that came from. My dad was alway amused by the fact that people could always see the resemblance between us, and that goes to the power of mannerisms and adoption of traits that are outside of the standard genetics - that wry smile, the sense of humor, all that intangible stuff that makes a relationship.

The DNA stuff is interesting, if it could answer things like what percentage if any Neanderthal makes up my DNA, and the more archaic stuff. The more immediate stuff? I already know. And I know my adoptive family all the way back to 1590 or something, so not a mystery. Lots of great stories, but not a genetic mystery.
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Old 07-28-2017, 07:33 AM
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My sister did her dna testing and she got the results last week.
What a total shock! Great Britain is the largest part which we did not expect. Irish is way down on the scale....and zero German (which shocked all of us)
Alot of Scandinavian.

My dad thinks we should all do ours to see if any of the percentages change. I always thought they were supposed to be the same if all of us are actually from the same two parents. (lol......Im pretty certain they are all of us kids parents so why he would think different? I dunno)
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Old 07-28-2017, 10:39 AM
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My sister did her dna testing and she got the results last week.
What a total shock! Great Britain is the largest part which we did not expect. Irish is way down on the scale....and zero German (which shocked all of us)
Alot of Scandinavian.

My dad thinks we should all do ours to see if any of the percentages change. I always thought they were supposed to be the same if all of us are actually from the same two parents. (lol......Im pretty certain they are all of us kids parents so why he would think different? I dunno)
My step-daughter thinks she remembered reading that siblings with both of the same birth parents CAN have different results. The only thing I can think of may have to do with dominant and recessive genes. An example would be if one sibling has red hair and another has brown. The one who has red hair may have more of an influence from the region where the red hair derived. I don't know if it is true. I ordered my kit and I think my sister is happy I did so she doesn't have to fork over the money. I am guessing that the only way we would ever know is for two siblings with the same birth parents to bite the bullet!
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Old 07-28-2017, 11:12 AM
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My ex did this. Its funny because there was a rumor that they were a little bit native american. Everyone believed it.
So when his results came back with zero native american heritage.....the whole family was pissed off and said its not true.
My ex thinks thats funny.
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Haha I have a feeling this same thing will happen with our family! My mom swears up and down that we are, based on rumours.
This must be a thing. LOL It happened to us, too. My great-great grandmother was adopted and was told she was adopted from a Native orphanage. She looked it so no one ever questioned it. Mom and I have zero Native ancestry according to this test.
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Old 07-28-2017, 12:57 PM
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My sister did her dna testing and she got the results last week.
What a total shock! Great Britain is the largest part which we did not expect. Irish is way down on the scale....and zero German (which shocked all of us)
Alot of Scandinavian.

My dad thinks we should all do ours to see if any of the percentages change. I always thought they were supposed to be the same if all of us are actually from the same two parents. (lol......Im pretty certain they are all of us kids parents so why he would think different? I dunno)
You get 23 chromosomes from your mom, and 23 from your dad. So, your mom has 46 chromosomes to choose from - each in pairs, and so does your dad. Let's simplify because I'm a lawyer, so I hate math.

Let's look at 1 chromosome. You get one chromosome pairing from your mom and dad. Mom has 2 whatever they are called. I'm hitting on allele in my brain, but somebody, please come along and correct me. One is from her Scandinavian mother, and one from her Latvian father. Same for your dad - his genes represent his English mother and his Irish father. You get one chromosome that is comprised of some combination of
Scandinavian or Latvian and English or Irish

Your siblings have the same. So, if you're unfortunate enough to get a ton of Irish from your father and very little English, your profile would look very different from somebody who was a lot English and very little Irish.

And if that Irish lass was actually descended from Spanish or Italian Jews kicked out of England or Spain or Italy and stranded on Ireland as a result of a purge, then the profile can look quite a bit different.
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Old 07-29-2017, 06:47 AM
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Well then I gotta get mine done as well to see.
Both parents original surnames are def Irish. lol. (as you can get)
funny you mentioned Italian........never knew it but she (sis) has 1% Italian heritage.
39 % Great Britain, 20 something Scandinavian, 19 % Irish. And a bunch of other smaller percentages.
Its interesting stuff.


Would love hubby to do his and also his brother. His brother thinks he's 100% Dutch.
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Old 07-29-2017, 11:39 AM
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Who is the best company to go to for the DNA testing? I remember a friend had hers done a year back and that company was saying she had some type of African in her, and she's definitely 100% Norwegian.
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Old 07-29-2017, 01:18 PM
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Who is the best company to go to for the DNA testing? I remember a friend had hers done a year back and that company was saying she had some type of African in her, and she's definitely 100% Norwegian.
You have to remember that it is going back many many many generations! My mother thought she was 100% German, but in my research thus far, I found that one of her great grandmothers was actually born in Switzerland. And even though she was born in Switzerland, her parents could have migrated there, and their parents could have migrated to where they lived, and so on. Not to mention the interactions that happen during times of war or other travels! She, absolutely, could have African in her!
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Old 07-29-2017, 06:17 PM
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Who is the best company to go to for the DNA testing? I remember a friend had hers done a year back and that company was saying she had some type of African in her, and she's definitely 100% Norwegian.
?? Then she's not 100% Norwegian!

So I did mine through 23andme which is the one I'd recommend. They connect you with other people in their database which is large. I was connected to 1200+ people that had identical strands of DNA to one degree or another (mostly 3rd and 5th cousins). The best part is that they will give you your raw data which you can bring to an independent lab if you'd like further analysis (which is what I did).

Mine turned out surprising. I am a very light white woman with blonde hair. While I have hazel eyes most of my siblings are blonde haired with blue eyes. My son is also blonde haired with blue eyes. Beforehand the rumor was that I was largely white Northwestern European with a splash of Native American. My family was big on genealogy with extensive trees charted. My father even went to the Library of Congress and researched databooks for the Native American and believed we "might" have found the possible link (data is poor in history for most minorities in the US).

So YEP I'm mostly white Northwestern European. BUT I have zero Native American in me - NONE. What I do have is something I'd never heard before: Black Ancestry. It sent me on a new journey and now I've researched on a lot about it.

In my case those particular strands are long (instead of cut up in pieces) which shows that it was more recent and there is one point of entry. It is said that it happened 5-7 generations ago around the 1820s. (slavery was outlawed in 1865)

It's very unlikely that your "Norwegian" friend's black ancestry came from a traveling love story between Africa and Europe. The DNA testing they are using for these things with saliva tubes are charting out much more recent DNA from the past couple hundreds years and not thousands of years ago. A couple hundred yrs ago that combination (a Norwegian and African procreating) was unheard of. But there's another place that it happened often - an ugly part of our American history.

Apparently 2% of white people in the US have *hidden* SSB ancestry (sub-Saharan) and almost all black americans are 20-30% white. This largely has to do with rapes between the master and slave (sorry, I couldn't think of a nicer way to put it). I suppose you would think there would be more black DNA in the white population, but the reason that isn't so is due to racism. In this country a "drop" of black will make you black, so offspring usually stayed within the black community. My ancestry would be an example of the few that were able to *pass* into white society. Apparently until not too long ago with the civil rights movement it was actually a *thing* to hide your black ancestry if you were able to pass and operate as a white person.

Most white people that have SSB DNA have an ancestral grounding in the southern slave states (of course). On one of my trees there were plantation owners in Georgia. However that's my paternal side and my black DNA came from my mother's side. There is no argument that it is there. However I haven't been able to find it yet. A full African is VERY dark and it seems it would have been evident for a couple generations, but I haven't found it yet.

My Black DNA is also from West Africa. That's where ALL of the slaves were shipped from. I've been to the castle like forts that shipped slaves out, all along the coast, mostly Ghana.

Anyways the impact on my family was a mixed bag. I had not had contact with bio family members for a long time so basically I just showed up and stirred the pot. Older members didn't like it and wanted to deny it and point fingers to others. But younger generations were willing to embrace it (siblings & cousins). The SSB DNA is also in my maternal cousins so it came through my maternal grandparents. My grandmother is alive and almost 90 yrs old and I gave her the news that either her or her husband had a pretty sizable chunk of black DNA in them. She has latent racism, like a lot of people in her generation, and didn't seem too thrilled. She turned down a DNA test and says it doesn't matter and that "well enough should be left alone" which is sad but I can't make her.

So this is what is important to me: That now, decades later, what was hidden can now see the light and resume its proper place. I have now taught my son about black history and our ancestry and that we are part of the fabric woven into that history so he can also pass it on to his children.

Honestly it brought me to a deeper sense of identity and the variants that make me who I am. I am American but brought up in Europe and it turns out that what I am could've only been made in American. I am a direct product. Despite the tragic circumstances that my ancestors had to go through, I am proud to know and be what I am

Last edited by TawnyStar; 07-29-2017 at 07:02 PM..
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Old 07-29-2017, 06:32 PM
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To add about DNA, you don't get accurately sliced proportions. But it's not so random that a dad who's 50% Chinese, and 50% Italian give a child only the Chinese half. More like his donation could be comprised of 48% Chinese and 52% Italian. This starts to make wider variations as different genealogical branches travel along.

For instance my cousin John is not 50% of the same DNA as me (although 50% came from the same origin of our shared grandparents). We are actually 23%. I am not 100% connected to my siblings because all the DNA is mixed up in a tumbler before it comes out. So there would be variations. They are not wide however. Like one child being 80% German and the other only 5%. It's much closer than that.

In all, you will be 50% one parent and 50% the other (that doesn't alter). But what's in the package they give you, can.

Just thought I should clear that up.

Also some commercial tests rely on different databases and use different markers. It's often hard to distinguish English and Irish due to changing borders and mixing over the course of thousands of years. These two are largely identity related, not so much in DNA. German and French is often similarly combined and not as distinct as we all identify with. So you can take that into accord
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