Ancestry DNA Testing:

The release of consumer family DNA testing has become a game changer in SO many ways, the good, the GREAT, the bad, the ugly, and the “I can’t believe you found out my secret that I was gonna take to the Grave!!!!”.  DNA was released by in May of 2012, right when I was in the prime of my research and skills.  “Ancestry offers only the autosomal DNA test, which produces the most comprehensive snapshot of one’s ethnicity and living relatives.”

When it was first released, I must admit, I was pretty skeptical about this whole DNA thing. I’m not saying that I didn’t believe in the DNA science, I just didn’t understand at that time, its importance and how it could further my research. At that time in my life, I was really just “re-visiting” my on-again and off-again relationship with my family research. I took one look at the price tag and decided it wasn’t for me. WHO in their right mind would pay such a price tag besides “them rich folk”? Remind you, this was over a decade ago. Money was different back then. Time went on, I really didn’t think no more about it. I really didn’t think the DNA testing would make a difference, to be honest.

When It ALL Changed

If I can recall, my husband was talked into doing the Ancestry DNA by his sister that had already done it, let’s be clear, he is NOT into genealogy whatsoever. The hubs wanted to take advantage of the Sale that they run every year for the Holidays; it was the Thanksgiving Day sale of 2018.

My husband approached me and said, “Hey, I’m about to do the Ancestry DNA thing, you wanna do it?” Of Couse!!! It sounded like a Great Idea, why not?! I must say, we got our results back a lot faster than they advertised. They tell you 6-8 weeks. I got mine back in 3 weeks and a day or 22 days if you will. My husband’s DNA results came back 10 days later.

Now I won’t lie, when I got my results back, it was SUPER overwhelming and confusing. It was just a list of names and numbers and percentages, No clue what any of this mean even for a 13-year vet, at that time.

Now I will say that my saving grace was the fact that I already had about three thousand people on my tree at that time. I know that many people are only interested in the DNA to see their ethnicity amount. Granted that is pretty cool, but honestly, I take that part of the DNA with a grain of salt.

As a serious genealogist, NOTHING pains me more than to see a person that has done the DNA but has not built a “serious” tree and I’m trying to figure out the connection. I need the tree to at least have the basic folks, Mom, Dad, Grandparents, and Great Grandparents on both sides if possible. And THEN you message a person on the Ancestry chat and based on their activity, they may respond, right away, a couple of days later, a couple of YEARS later, YES I said YEARS later, or not respond at all.   

DNA is So tricky and selective, I explain it like a deck of cards, you never know which DNA card you will be dealt. I learned a lot of this shortly after doing my own DNA. So my next step was to get my parent’s DNA so I can get a full understanding of what I was made of because obviously, if it’s my mother’s relative, then obviously it’s mine, and so forth with my Dad.

My mother was eager to help me further my research and she gave me her DNA,

my dad, not so much, he basically told me NO when I asked back in 2019. So reluctantly respecting his decision, I had to think fast because I needed the “Y” chromosome. Light Bulb!!! I simply asked my oldest brother. We have the same mother and father so his DNA would be next to best in place of my father’s DNA. Again, he was eager to help with my research.

Now my DNA profile is really getting built…because my mother’s DNA is “pulling” people that did NOT show up in my DNA results. Again, as I’ve stated before, it’s like a deck of cards. So now my gears are going. I reached out to my Aunt, my mother’s FULL sibling. So, my Aunt comes in clutch because she is my mother’s full sibling, same mother, same father. Obviously, my Aunt’s DNA matches are ultimately my matches because it’s like looking at my mother’s matches.

I’m still wanting my father to do the DNA because, at this point, I’m trying to find out WHO my paternal grandfather is. Granted, my brother’s DNA is going to be the best I’m going to get thus far. I’m teetering back and forth about asking my 95-year-old grandma because of the era she grew up in, I just wasn’t sure WHAT kind of answer I was going to get……..When it comes to the sake of research, my answer ALWAYS is Y.O.L.O.!!!!!!!! The worst she can say is NO, so, hey! Let’s go for it! I call her on the phone and just tell her what I’m doing and why and she says “SURE”……When I tell you I almost peed in my pants… can only imagine my excitement. Needless to say, I left the house within 6 minutes tops.

So then I moved on to my half-sister….at first, I was kind of reluctant because we have two different fathers so obviously half of her matches will be on her paternal side which wouldn’t necessarily help me. (In fact, we are ALL cousins so it COULD help me, a Story for another day). When her DNA came back, I was super surprised actually of how much hers DID come in handy. Her DNA was able to “pull” people that my mother, aunt, or brother couldn’t pull.

Then I went to my Nephew, my FULL brother’s son. I figured he could give me more on the “Y” chromosome side. However, he would have his mother’s other half of DNA, again, not sure if it would help or not because one, he would be so far down generationally wise, not sure if anything would pop up, and two, what if he pulled more from his mother’s side? The saving grace was his mother’s side was ALREADY on my tree because one, I build ALL connecting families trees, and two, his mother is actually believed to be, Creek Indian from Oklahoma.

My half-niece, my half-sister’s daughter, subsequently did her DNA also. Her DNA was really diluted because not only does she have her father’s DNA, BUT she also has my half-sister’s father’s DNA in her as well. Granted, ALL DNA that is related to me can help and can “pull” people that neither of my other tests have pulled.

As an afterthought, My oldest daughter saw all the excitement I was having with the DNA and finding all the family members, she asked me if She could do it also!!! Of course, the more the merrier. With her DNA I can help build my husband’s tree also.

After all these years, I can honestly say that doing the Ancestry DNA has been THE BEST decision I EVER made when it comes to research. The Ancestry DNA testing has opened so many doors for me and has built my tree tremendously. 43 THOUSAND people Deep and Still growing daily.

DNA has helped connect so many lost children with their biological families, and has helped those looking for parents, grandparents, close kinfolk that people didn’t even know they had, and kinfolk in general. This science has been the turning point of turning the average researchers into semi-professionals all because of DNA. The search for my Paternal Grandfather continues…..Stay Tuned.


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