One thing doing genealogy teaches you is that you are NEVER exactly who you THINK you are. For over 36 years, I’ve researched my roots. On my dad’s side of the family, my journey has taken me back through slavery and slave-owners in Georgia and North Carolina. But I’ve only been able to get back to great-great grandparents and not on every line.
I’ve had far more success researching my mother’s line which has taken me back to known ancestors from Bermuda, England, Scotland and Germany. As of now, there are some lines I’ve gotten back to medieval times in England!!
For years, I’ve thought about taking a DNA test but just got around to doing that recently. If you’re wondering what all the fuss is over DNA test in family research, here’s a video that explains it better than I ever could –
To get started, I sent for a DNA test from Ancestry.com. When it arrived, I filled the little vial with my saliva (apparently a rich source of DNA) and waited about 5 weeks to get my results. Here they are (and who I am) –
54 % West African
34 % British Isles
7 % Scandinavian
5 % Uncertain
Like many BLACK people in the USA, I knew my genealogy was mixed. And I specifically knew that I had many ancestors from England and Scotland. But the Scandinavian link was a complete surprise!
Apparently the DNA test shows your lineage back hundreds, even a thousand years. None of the modern day Scandinavian countries were around then. So, according to Ancestry.com, the results show that I have Viking ancestry. Go figure.
Did a Viking really wander through my family tree??
I haven’t gotten into the DNA side of my genealogy yet but it is a way to discover more detail about my African American family history that’s often hard to document, my European roots and maybe even the Native American ancestors Great Aunt Clara said we have.
As I get closer to the ordering that little kit that’s supposed to map out my genetic DNA, I wanted a little more info. So researcher that I am, I started poking around and found a great series of videos that explains a complicated scientific principle in a user-friendly (and kind of cute way). Here they are for you to watch at your leisure.
If you liked this first videos, here are the links to the rest in the series:
Genetics 101, Part 2 – What are SNPs?
Genetics 101, Part 3 – Where do your genes come from?
Genetics 101, Part 4 – What is phenotype?
Are you planning to add genetic DNA testing to your genealogy toolkit?